Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move

From Drugs.com - February 14, 2018

Shedding Pounds Before Weight-Loss Surgery a Smart Move

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2018 -- By the time you have decided to have weight-loss surgery, you have probably given up on dieting altogether.

But a new study suggests that if you can drop some weight in the month before your procedure, you might have a smoother surgery and recovery -- and you could ultimately lose more weight.

Researchers asked people scheduled for weight-loss procedures to go on a low-calorie diet for a month before surgery. The diet consisted of about 1,200 calories daily from two meal replacement shakes and one healthy meal.

People who lost 8 percent or more of their excess body weight reduced the duration of their surgery, as well as the length of their hospital stay. And a year later, they lost almost 10 pounds more than those who had not succeeded at pre-surgery weight loss.

"These findings suggest that surgeons and clinical care teams should encourage healthy eating and exercise," said study author Deborah Hutcheon, a clinical nutrition specialist at Greenville Health Systems in South Carolina.

But Hutcheon was quick to emphasize that this eating plan was recommended, not mandated. And the study authors do not think this diet should be used as a requirement to gain insurance coverage.

Dr. Mitchell Roslin, director of the bariatric surgery program at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., expressed the same concern.

"Sometimes results from studies like this are used in a negative way, such as for rationing care. Insurers might argue that good weight losers before the surgery do not need the surgery," said Roslin, who was not involved with the study.

Hutcheon agreed that a pre-surgery diet should not be the basis for coverage or approval for surgery. She pointed out that some participants did not meet the 8 percent weight-loss goal set by the study before their surgery, and they still did quite well.

The study included 355 people scheduled to undergo one of two weight-loss procedures. One hundred sixty-seven people were going to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy (a procedure that removes most of the stomach) and 188 were going to have gastric bypass.


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